The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Vrndavana

BY: SUN STAFF - 12.5 2020

Krsna's Rasa Dance

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 173.

As we approach the end of our series, the next to last holy place mentioned in Jaiva Dharma, is none other than Sri Krsna's own Vrndavana:

"Vrndavana - 'the forest of Vrnda'; the famous place where Sri Krsna enacted many of His enchanting lilas.

Vrndavana is situated approximately 12 kilometers northeast of Mathura, along the western bank of the Yamuna river. It is one of the twelve forests of Vraja and within it are twelve smaller forests: Atalavana (mountain forest), Korarivana (osprey forest), Viharavana (pleasure pastime forest), Gocaranavana (cowherding forest), Kaliyadamanavana (subduing Kaliya forest), Gopalavana (the cowherds forest), Nikunjavana (bower forest), Nidhuvana (treasure forest), Radhabaga (Radha's garden), Jhulavana (swing pastime forest), Gahvaravana (secret forest), and Papadavana (forest of harsh mountains)."

The storyline of Jaiva Dharma begins in chapter one with both our opening characters -- Sri Prema-dasa Babaji and the austere sannyasi, Vaisnava dasa -- mentioning Vrndavana. First we meet the Babaji:

"Aware that Sri Godruma is not different from Sri Nanda-grama in Vrndavana, Sri Prema-dasa Babaji, who was learned in all the scriptures, also took shelter in that holy place."

And a few paragraphs later, his disciple is introduced:

"After some days of thinking I decided that it would be best for me to take shelter of the feet of a Vaisnava. Then I left Varanasi and went to Sridhama Vrndavana. There I saw many Vaisnavas. Every one of them was calling out the names, 'O Sri Rupa! O Sri Sanatana! O Sri Jiva Gosvami!' and lamenting. They were all meditating on Sri Sri Radha-Krsna's pastimes and in voices choked with love, calling out the name of Navadvipa."

As we see above, Srila Bhaktivinoda emphasizes the twelve forests of Vrndavana in his Glossary listing. But of course, there is a great deal more information about Vrndavana-dhama provided in the book. So much, in fact, that we can again only briefly summarize it. Among the various topics discussed are the following:

Sri Krsna's qualities in His Vrndavana abode
His Pastimes in Vrndavana
Lord Balarama in Vrndavana
Lord Chaitanya and Navadip-dhama non-different
Devotees living in Vrndavana
The Lord's Associates in Vrndavana
Goloka and Vrndavana are non-different
The residents of Vrndavana
Sri Radha, Queen of Vrndavana
Rasas in Vrndavana

In chapter four we find a passage that was first mentioned in our Vaikuntha segment: "When He manifests His feature of supreme opulence, He is Lord Narayana in the spiritual sky. When He manifests His feature of supreme sweetness, He is Lord Krsnacandra, the gopis' beloved in Goloka Vrndavana. His different forms and pastimes are all limitless and eternal."

In chapter thirty-eight, Gopala-guru Gosvami enlightens his disciple Vijaya-kumara in the nature of sambhoga pastimes (enjoyment in meeting):

"Sri Krsna's pastimes are of two kinds: 1 prakata (manifested and 2 aprakata (unmanifested). The separation from Krsna I described occurs in the prakata pastimes. In Vrndavana Krsna eternally enjoys the rasa dance and other pastimes with the gopis. Therefore, because these pastimes are eternal, Krsna and the gopis are never separated. In the Mathura mahatmya it is said that Krishna eternally enjoys pastimes with the gopas and gopis. There the verb 'kridati' (enjoys pastimes), which is in the present tense, affirms that Lord Krsna eternally enjoys pastimes in Vrndavana. Therefore in Goloka or in Vrndavana, in Lord Krsna's aprakata (unmanifested) pastimes, Krsna and the gopis always enjoy together. Krsna never goes to a faraway place. There is no separation."


(Vrndavana, to be continued…)